WILDER SIDE OF OAKLAND COUNTY
“In every walk with nature one receives far more than they seek.” Those timeless words of John Muir came to life in a most unexpected way in the first week of April, during an off-the-beaten-trail woodland hike in northern Oakland County. The intent of the early morning exploration was to photograph wood frogs in their vernal breeding pools, and perhaps catch a glimpse of Sandhill Cranes in their flamboyant courtship dance. Their images were captured – and then things got exciting.
Puddingstones are a conglomerate rock comprised of a mix of irregularly shaped pebbles cemented together under pressure. Most geologists believe they were originally formed “a billion years ago” in river channels in what is now northeastern Canada. What makes them so dramatically different from other glacial erratics is the mix of irregularly shaped pebbles; the minerals within that are colorful standouts in the compressed white quartz sand. The minerals vary, but include jasper, platinum, sapphire and even gold.
This one appears to have both brown and reddish pebbles of jasper and visually emphasizes the reason for the name pudding-stone. The rock resembles a pudding, rich with extra ingredients. The beautiful minerals, polished by the action of ancient stream beds and sealed forever together under great pressure, are hidden from view until the Ice Age transported them to a new home on a hillside of the Wilder Side of Oakland County.
Text and photos by Jonathan Schechter, Nature Education Writer for Oakland County Parks. firstname.lastname@example.org
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